One area of consumer protection and bargain hunting that you may not have considered has to do with entertainment and fun, rather than serious purchases or costly services. During times of economic downturn, recession and various failings of the financial system, the smaller budgets of many people has driven them to find affordable forms of entertainment online. The gaming industry, for example, is so popular that billions are being spent annually on it even though a large proportion of its millions of players worldwide are spending smaller amounts.
Rise of Player Protection
Although reputable online casinos are watched by the authorities that issue their gambling licenses (such as Malta) as well third-party certifications and organisations that test game fairness, for example, players always should remain vigilant about the professionalism of casinos in many other subtler areas.
Fortunately, three important conditions exist in the online casino marketplace right now that bode well for the safety of players. This should be reassuring for those who have avoided the games for fear of cyber threats and identity theft — since casinos do require modest outlays of cash to avail, along with the setup of a user account.
Alternative Payment Methods
Using a credit card is the least safe way to buy things online, or to pay for a game club's monthly subscription (such as Sony PlayStation users), or to top up a casino balance. The reason is that too much verification information is required along with the card number itself — all of that data can get hijacked when passed online, or, not stored safely, such as on databases that are hijacked too easily.
For those reasons, many online casino players simply use alternatives to credit cards that do not requires loads of verifications because casinos treat them the same as cash. Those methods include PayPal casinos, and the nearly universal acceptance of Ukash, Paysafecard, Neteller and a variety of localised payment options.
Established Gaming Systems
The two main gaming studios that grabbed the new online gambling bull by the horns when it evolved in the mid-nineties were Microgaming and Cryptologic — both remain prominent today. They have been joined by many new game providers across the globe, and most are fully licensed and legitimate.
When players use sites that are licensing games from the top makers (Microgaming, Playtech, Internet Entertainment, Probability and so on) then the player accounts and banking settings are safeguarded by the game makers themselves (not the casinos). This fact is a source of comfort to players who like to try different houses and game brands.
TIP — A sign up at a casino usually entitles the new member to a bonus, usually a cash match of 100% or more (within limits). This is a great way to stretch your fun money!
Social Network Games
Would you feel pretty safe playing casino games like slots inside a social network, say Facebook? The games are very popular indeed within the comfy confines of the world's biggest social network — and players can bet real money depending upon where they live (in the UK, for instance, where it is legal). The bonuses are usually quite good, but the games are the lighter faire.
On the other hand, most of the top Web-powered casinos have ample presence inside Facebook — their Pages, in fact, are the inside tracks for players who are hunting for first pick of the latest specials and incentives. Sharp, hawkish folks can snap up plenty of free games and bonus cash.
All in all, we think that throwing a small bit of dosh at online poker, or roulette (which had been a ritzy game out of most people's reach before the Web), is a great entertainment option. Can you think of many other fun things to do that could even lead to a life-changing jackpot windfall? People who frequent the top UK online casino sites (often using PayPal, adding another layer of safety and consumer support) are betting that their amusements may pay off big one day.